John and Laura Roach, authors of Divorce in Peace, join Cathy DeWitt Dunn on Women Money and Power to discuss their newly released book.
Part 2 of the interview with Judge John Roach and Laura Roach.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: And welcome back live to Woman Money & Power, I’m Cathy DeWitt Dunn. Thank you so much for joining our show today. Well, today is a special day. I have a couple of wonderful guests in the studio and you do not wanna miss out on this show today. I have John Roach, who’s a Texas judge out in Collin County here today and you are gonna be amazed at what he has to say about divorces, child custody issues and how you can avoid paying excessive fees if you’re going through that currently.
I also have Laura Roach, who’s…she’s just amazing. She’s an attorney. She’s a mediator. She’s with the Albin Roach firm and she’s also gonna talk about all the things that she’s seen throughout her career and what I wanna try to do is to educate all of my listeners today on how you could do things differently if you might be going through a divorce, if you’re thinking about a divorce. How about saving some money while you are going through the divorce? Because the one thing I can tell you right now, and I’m married to an attorney and I’m gonna get in trouble on this one, but the attorneys end up making more money out of the divorce scenario than the family does. So we’re gonna educate you on how you can do things a little bit differently and it’s great to have you both on the show, judge.
Judge John Roach: It’s great to see you, I appreciate it.
Laura Roach: Thank you.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: You know, isn’t it pretty interesting what you see and the complexity and…and I also wanna just say that you’ve written a book to help people so we’re gonna talk some points today on what people can do, but also direct them on how they can buy your book that will help them.
John: Okay perfect, absolutely.
Cathy: But isn’t it amazing what you’ve seen and how many…well, 10,000 cases you’ve seen in front of you as a judge?
John: At least 10,000 divorce cases specifically as a judge and it’s heartbreaking and that’s why we’re here and that’s why we’re trying to get the word out that I really don’t want your case in court. I really don’t.
Cathy: Well, and then you’ve also…here we have Laura.
John: That’s right
Cathy: I mean, the mediator and also the attorney. I think that’s one of the main focus points that you also see is that you’d like to also try to keep everybody out of court.
Laura: That’s correct.
Cathy: And how do people do that?
Laura: Well, the best way to do it is to settle your case as soon as possible. But, you know, as an attorney, people are like, “You make money off contested divorces.” Which is true, I do, but I don’t wanna make money at all costs. You gotta go into a case, look at it. And as a client, you gotta take control right away and resolve as many issues as you can on your own first. That is the first thing you need to try to do if it’s possible. But if not, then you can go on and go to mediation or go through some other process to try to stay out of court and get the case resolved.
Cathy: You know, and that’s a great point. But one of the things that I…I mean, I went through a divorce years ago and if you’re fighting over issues that really don’t make any sense because, you know, I’m on the financial end, right?
Cathy. I see people that come through these doors that have spent tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of dollars and then all of a sudden they’re trying to, “Well, I would like to retire. I wanna continue to live the same lifestyle that I was living prior.” You can’t do that if you drain all your assets with your attorney.
Laura: That’s correct
Cathy: You gotta have a plan.
John: Statistics show that you lose 77% of your wealth as a result of a divorce. Imagine that, 77%. That’s staggering
Cathy: And then also think about this, 50% of all first time marriages end up in divorce.
John: That’s right. There’s 26,000 divorces filed in the United States a week…
Laura: Forty six.
John: I’m sorry, 46,000 files in a week. That is one every 13 seconds in the United States.
Laura: And it’s gonna go up with gay marriage now. There is gonna be more marriages resulting in more divorces.
Cathy: Yeah. You know, we’re gonna talk about that issue here in a little bit as well. Judge, you know, one of the things I think that you…one of the reasons why you’re so passionate about this book is because you’ve seen all the devastation that’s happened with divorces.
John: I have, it’s really weird. I can sit back in court and watch these cases as they come in and I can just see the writing on the wall from the first moment I see them. I can see how contentious it is. I can see how much money they’re fighting over, what issues they’re fighting over. And I just wanna jump up and down on the train tracks and say, “Hey, there’s a train coming. There’s a train coming.” And sometimes they listen to me, but most of the time they don’t. Because they don’t know any other alternative than to go in in court and to fight it out.
Cathy: Yeah, and spend all the money.
John: And spend all the money. And I see it and I predict it. I tell them right off the bat. I’m like, “Listen, by the end of the day, at the end of this divorce, your money is going to be gone, you’re gonna be coming over here fighting over nothing. Why would you want to do that? Let’s get this thing worked out.” Sometimes they listen like I said and sometimes they don’t.
Laura: But that’s why we wrote the book. Because we came home every day from work complaining about the exact same issue of people are fighting over issues they don’t even know they are fighting over. They don’t know why they’re fighting over them. They don’t understand what the court can and can’t do for them. So our thought was, “Can we write a book that informs people that there’s an alternative other than war of the roses.”
Cathy: You know, I think that’s awesome and if you’d like to find out more about the book today, you can log on to womanmoneyandpower.com. There is a link right in the middle of my website that will direct you to Amazon and a couple of different places that you can purchase the book. So it’s Divorce in Peace , so just think about that. Having a divorce in peace where everybody is just so upset and they can’t come to a peaceful resolve on anything.
John: They can’t. I’ll tell you what. The first thing people think of when they think about divorces is they’re gonna call their best friend who’s been through a divorce. Find the meanest, nastiest lawyer in town to take the other side to the cleaners. And then the other side does the same thing and tries to match that and the war is on. And what they don’t realize is taking people to the cleaners, they’re taking themselves to the cleaners in the process
Cathy: Right, and also think about what they’re doing with the children. I mean, here’s all this money. There’s young children involved typically and that’s college education’s fund, that’s future money for the children, and, you know, you’ve gotta get around hating your spouse. You can hate him all day long or her, but you’re really hurting yourself.
Laura: Well, that’s what we always say. You have to love your children more than you hate your spouse. So you just have to love them more and…John sees this in court a lot, but he interviews a lot of kids and I interview kids too through the mediation process as well, but here, we have a theory that children of divorce and a bad custody case and things like that cannot dream big, because the only thing they ever dream about is mom and dad getting along. That basic need, the basics: food, shelter, love, safety isn’t being met because mom and dad are fighting so much. And John interviews people…kids in chambers all the time and he gives them a magic wand and he asks them, “You can dream for anything you want.” And it you ask my kids that, it’s gonna be to play in the NFL or be a Marine Corp sniper or a Pokémon master or something huge. But these kids 9 times out of 10 say, “I just want mom and dad to get along.” They want peace, which is…
Cathy: Not necessarily get back together, but just to get along.
John: That’s right. Just to get along.
Cathy: You know, and I think that the book is really something that’s been missing. You know, I know, as a judge, if there is children involved they have to go through like family counseling, right?
John: They do. They do parenting classes and stuff, that’s right.
Cathy: Okay, parenting classes. So how about getting a book ahead of time that’s gonna help protect yourself and all your assets later down the road. So if you like to find out more about this book, please log on today to womenmoneyandpower.com right in the middle of our webpage you’ll be able to see the link, Divorce in Peace . It’s awesome. We got a couple more minutes left. I mean, what is one of the funniest or craziest stories that you have as a judge that you’ve seen?
John: Oh, the funniest story. Just a lot of times, it’s just the kids are smarter than the parents. I sit there and listen to the kids and they’re in my chambers alone. There is nobody else there except for one of my staff members and stuff and I’m talking to them and they tell me about their parents. They tell me, “I hate my mom as a drama queen, my dad’s kind of mean,” and stuff. They have it all figured out. So when I go back into the court room and talk to the parents, those kids are exactly right. I mean, it’s just kind of weird that the kids are smarter than their parents a lot of the times because they see the fighting and they see the effect that it’s having on them too. But it’s probably more sad than it is funny. And then to see people destroy themselves in the process and their families in the process of a divorce, I don’t understand it. At one point in time, these people loved each other…
Cathy: Well, and I think that…
John: …and they committed to each other.
Cathy: Yeah, and then just things went totally sideways.
John: And now they hate each other.
Cathy: Yeah, but you know what? You shouldn’t hate…you’re hating yourself by giving up all of your money. And I can tell you one thing, and the attorneys are sitting there going, “Wow, we have a case and there’s how much money?”
John: That’s right.
Cathy: It’s the only time you said earlier that they wanna know what your net worth is before they take you on as a case.
John: They absolutely do. It’s just the weirdest thing in the world. You don’t go to buy a car and the first thing the car salesmen says is, “Well, how much money do you have and I’ll sell you a car.” In law businesses, you know how much they have before you quote the retainer. And so for the bad lawyer, and they’re not all bad lawyers, we have very, very good lawyers in fact in many of the cases. But for those bad lawyers, they take advantage of the conflict for their own benefit.
Cathy: Well, if you like to save some money today, if you’re thinking about a divorce or if you’re in the middle of a divorce and you wanna stop the bleeding and have some money left over, log on to womanmoneyandpower.com. We’ll have a link to this book. It’s fabulous. It’s Divorce in Peace and it’s gonna save you a lot of money if anything, how about just some sanity as well? Or give me a call today and I’d be happy to give you the information on how you could reach out to Laura today: 972-473-4700. Again that is 972-473-4700. I’m Cathy DeWitt Dunn. We’ll be right back.